NPE 2003: Attendance down but exhibitors happy (July 03, 2003)
The Society of the Plastics Industry reported a significant decline in the total number of registered attendees at...
The Society of the Plastics Industry reported a significant decline in the total number of registered attendees at NPE 2003, which concluded on June 27. Total participation at this year’s NPE was 63,238, a 29.8% decline from the registration at NPE 2000. Yet, the SPI also reports that feedback obtained from exhibitors during and after the show indicates that, despite the drop in overall attendance, visitors to company exhibits included a high proportion of decision-makers that came to the show with specific purchasing intentions.
"Because of the high level of interest on the part of visitors, many exhibitors said they had all they could do to ensure that visitors looking to make contacts and ask questions received proper attention," said Jordan L. Morgenstern, SPI’s vice president of trade shows. "We received reports from many exhibitors of sales of equipment closed right on the show floor and very high levels of qualified leads."
The SPI also reported that there were 1,932 exhibiting companies at this year’s NPE, a decline of about 4% compared to the record set by NPE 2000, however 12% ahead of the previous record set by NPE 1997. Exhibitors used 1,018,000 sq. ft. of floor space at NPE 2003, 10.9% less than in 2000. There was also greater international involvement at NPE, with 30% of all exhibitors coming from outside the U.S., compared to 25% in 2000.
The strong buying intentions of visitors to the show could be a sign of an upward economic trend for the industry, after several years of slow to negligible growth, said Donald Duncan, president of SPI. Many exhibitors said the most noticeable difference between this NPE and past ones was the high ratio of visitors seriously interested in buying.
"We have been doing this for the past 25 years and this year we found the traffic was down but the quality of the people attending much better," said Robert Krycki, president of Future Design, the Mississauga, ON-based supplier of blown-film equipment. "In the past we would discount about 75% as people who would not buy or not be in a position to make decisions. With 25% down in traffic, we think we had only 50% tire kickers."